What is VRF? VRF is short for Variable Refrigerant Flow. It is a type of direct expansion (DX) multi-split system that incorporates a variable capacity compressor with a network of multiple indoor fan coil units. A VRF system increases efficiency by providing cooling or heating only to the individual zones where conditioning is required. Most VRF systems also employ a stand-alone controls and communications network.
How is a VRF system different from a conventional system? A conventional system usually operates at a fixed speed. On days where the full capacity is not required, the system will turn off and on to maintain the space temperature. These systems will also have a single indoor unit connected to a network of ducts. A fan distributes air through the ducts and brings return air back to the central system. This is less efficient than a VRF system because it can only heat or cool the entire system; there can only be one set point. Also, the fan and duct losses of a conventional system can add an additional 30I to the total energy consumption.
Is VRF expensive? A VRF system uses a combination of advanced electronics and precision mechanical components to deliver the highest efficiency possible. As such, the initial cost for a VRF system tends to be more than most conventional systems. However, when you take into consideration the quality of the system, ease of installation and the reduced energy consumption (which represents 80I of the lifecycle cost of the equipment), a VRF system is almost always the most economical option.
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Fujitsu Airstage VRF at St. James Church in Raleigh, NC
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